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Sandusky Child Sex Abuse Trial; CDC Bioterror Risk?: Air Force Focuses On F-22 Flight Suits; Epic Firefight In Colorado; Hail Has People Running For Cover; Armstrong Fires Back; Raising Cain; HBO Apologizes For Bush Head On Spike; Armstrong Suspended from Ironman; Where Syria's Weapons Come From; Bruschi To Tebow: "You Need To Disappear

Aired June 14, 2012 - 05:59   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: More disturbing tales of abuse and even threats in the Jerry Sandusky trial, and today, we'll hear from the accuser who first blew the lid off the case.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Devastating hail pounding Texas, and we're not just talking about little, itty bitty hail. We're talking hail the size of baseballs.

SAMBOLIN: Picture perfect. That is correct. The pitcher here, San Francisco Giants pitcher, Matt Cain, thrilled fans by pulling off one of baseball's ultimate feats in the history books now.

Good morning to you, and welcome to EARLY START. Thanks for being with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Good morning, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. We're bringing you the news from "A" to "Z." It is now, oh, just a wee bit before 6:00 a.m. on the east coast. Let's get you started with this.

Big story that's been developing throughout the week. In just a few hours, testimony is going to resume in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse sex case. The trial that everyone's been watching is expected to be another day filled with a very graphic details about alleged abuse by the former Penn State football coach.

Three more accusers are set to take the stand. In court yesterday, three witnesses described alleged molestation, and in one case threats, threats from Jerry Sandusky. CNN's Susan Candiotti has been covering the trial, and she's joining us live from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania this morning.

So, Susan, we're almost through the entire list of accusers by this point, and it seems as though the prosecution has been laying out quite a pattern of behavior, whether it's been abuse or grooming, et cetera. Have we been hearing at all outside the court from representatives, at least, of these accusers?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have, in some cases. They are universally drawing the same kind of comparisons a lot of people are as observers in court, that we have been seeing the pattern that you talked about in each of these cases. There is a grooming technique. It is alleged that Jerry Sandusky eventually wound up sexually assaulting these boys either in the basement of his home or in the locker room or in the shower or in other locations.

But the pattern always seems to be the same. In each case, the testimony has pretty much stayed exactly as what they had told the grand jury. The defense has not been able to shake the stories they've been telling so far, their testimony -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: So victim number five had very specific comments to make on the stand. As I understand it, we didn't expect to really hear from any of them.

In fact, the judge, while allowing the names be made public, recommended to the media not to broadcast and set up that tent to protect their identities and yet one of the attorneys did decide to speak publicly.

CANDIOTTI: That's right. He did although he did not, of course, disclose the name of his client. The news media, including CNN has not revealed the names of anyone.

But he did talk very frankly about how compelling the testimony was, this alleged victim number five, who said he was sexually assaulted in a shower and as well that Jerry Sandusky allegedly exposed himself in a sauna.

He broke down as he told the story and one moment that was hard to forget as well in this case, unlike other alleged victims, this was a young man who didn't come from a broken home and his parent were in court yesterday.

And cried as their son cried, as he testified before these jurors to say what happened to him. This is how the civil attorney summed up that testimony.


TOM KLINE, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED VICTIM NUMBER FIVE: He was a young man who was asked to step forward by the government and cooperated and today, tearfully told you how a grown man lured him into a shower after taking him into a sauna, disrobing, and then touching this young boy and scarring this young boy forever.


CANDIOTTI: And this young man, still undergoing counseling. But the lawyers said he felt very good about what he did and to show what kind of conscientious person he is.

After the testimony was over, he got right in the car, drove back to the town where he lives so that he wouldn't miss another day of work and intended to be back at work this morning -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: It's very hard to believe that it's expected to wrap up, I mean, the testimony of the prosecution's case. We've only been in this case three days, day four and they're expecting to wrap up by Friday. Remarkable.

All right, Susan, thanks very much for that. Susan Candiotti live in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

SAMBOLIN: It is three minutes past the hour. There may be a potential biohazard risk at a government lab. This is according to "USA Today." The CDC Lab has had repeated trouble with airflow systems that are designed to prevent the release of an infectious agent.

A biosafety expert says it violates lab operating standards. A CDC statement says, quote, "The work in CDC's high containment laboratory is done in an environment with highly skilled staff, technical equipment and safety systems that unfortunately at times experience challenges.

Fortunately, this unique facility has multiple systems in place that provide appropriate redundancy. So when there is an incident, the public as well as worker safety is not compromised.

BANFIELD: A specialized flight suit might be responsible for Air Force pilots feeling lightheaded at the same time as flying the F-22 fighter jet.

Investigators are focusing on the part of the suit called the combat edge. It's a vest that expands and contracts on a pilot's torso, all in an effort to fight G-force effect while they are flying.

But investigators think those vest might actually be restricting the pilot's breathing and a lot more severely than intended. They are expected to present a report on the findings of the Secretary of Defense within the next few days.

SAMBOLIN: Great if they find a solution to that. Those pilots were passing out.

And now to the epic firefight unfolding right now in Colorado, the so-called Hyde Park wildfire has swelled now to about 47,000 acres. Take a look at those pictures.

More than 1,000 fire personnel are now working nonstop in 24 hour shifts to slow it down. More than 1,000 new pre-evacuation alerts have just been issued to people who live on the west side of the fire. The alerts are a warning to get ready to leave in a hurry.

BANFIELD: In Dallas, Texas, hail has people running for cover, three intense thunderstorms hitting. Listen up, listen to the hail. It's just remarkable. It sounds like drums on a tin. That hail is ranging in size from golf ball to baseball and even larger. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It went for at least 20 minutes. It just pummelled. It was unbelievable. The rain, there was so much rain. It was like being in a disaster movie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounded like the house was exploding. Just -- over and over again, you can look at the roof and see a thousand explosions.


BANFIELD: The pictures certainly did tell the story because look at that. The majority of the damage was to roofs and car windows, the biggest casualties obviously, insurance adjustors hard at work today. Here's the great part of this story, could have been worse. Nobody at this point reported injured.

SAMBOLIN: Lance Armstrong telling his side of the story after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency formally charged him with doping. On his web site, Armstrong said, quote, "These charges are baseless motivated by spite, advance through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity.

Although the USADA alleges a wide ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. I have never doped and unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance and passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one."

BANFIELD: Twenty seven batters up and 27 batters out, history made last night by the San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain tossed one of those super rare perfect games. It is only the 22nd time that has ever happened in baseball history and it's the first for a member of the Giants. Here's how it played out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ground, from deep, got him.


BANFIELD: You bet you!

SAMBOLIN: Even if you're on the other team, you celebrate this. Amazing.

BANFIELD: History He struck out against the Giants, 10-0 victory. One happy dude this morning.

SAMBOLIN: He has terrorized women in this Cleveland area for almost 15 years. Coming up, the new push to catch a serial rapist.


SAMBOLIN: It's 10 minutes past the hour. New this morning, HBO apologizing after its hit show, "Game of Thrones" used a mask of former President George W. Bush to portray a decapitated head in several themes.

Take a look at this on the left side. HBO said, quote, "We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producer of the series, who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake."

The series producers say they were not trying to make a political statement, but trying to save money, saying, quote, "we just had to use whatever head we had around."

BANFIELD: They put the wig on it, I guess. It does make sense though. I mean, a lot of these productions do use all the stuff they've got.

SAMBOLIN: Lying around. I don't know I would have used that.

BANFIELD: Probably not, given what it's led to. You know you can buy the throne in "Game of Thrones" for $35,000, the sword, very cool looking. I don't know where you would put it. But have a spare $35,000 lying around, get your own throne.

Shaken but not stirred. People in Southern California might have felt a little earthquake or might have slept right through it. Rob Marciano live in the weather center. So what's the story on this one? Was it a big deal?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A 4.0 by so cal standards. Not a huge deal. I love the James Bond reference. For our friends who live in Los Angeles, down across Anaheim. They certainly felt this.

It was between L.A. and Anaheim about 10 miles northeast of Anaheim and about 25 or so miles southeast of L.A. A 4.0 magnitude quake, it was pretty shallow about 6 or 7 miles in depth.

That's the key as far as how much damage or in this case, how much shaking you felt likely not a lot of damage with it. All right, let's continue with our track across the west coast.

This is western parts of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. We've got a tropical storm. This is Carlotta, which has winds of 40 miles an hour, north westerly moving about 10 miles an hour. This is forecast to become a hurricane later on today.

And eventually make landfall potentially tomorrow night as a Category 1 storm. Right now, it's about 600 miles south-southeast of Acapulco and it will be heading in that direction. We'll be tracking that.

Across much of the U.S., severe storms across the upper Midwest and beautiful day across parts of the east coast as that little front pass off shore. Temps are in the 70s today across New York City.

And mid upper 80s across Atlanta, which had some rough storms last night and as did Dallas, pretty striking stuff and huge hail storms.

BANFIELD: The size of baseballs.

MARCIANO: And in some cases softballs, pretty serious damage.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Rob.

SAMBOLIN: It's 13 minutes past the hour here. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans with this morning's top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Zoraida. Day four of testimony of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial in Pennsylvania. Three more of Sandusky's alleged victims are expected to take the stand today.

Half have already testified now. The 68-year-old Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. He denies these charges. The prosecution could rest its case by tomorrow.

The FBI is now joining the search for a deadly serial rapist in Cleveland, Ohio. He is believed to have raped four women and killed one of his victims. Crimes dates back to 1996, the latest occurring in 2010.

The FBI is putting up a $10,000 reward for information. Agents say the suspect is a black male in his late 30s or early 40s, who's about 5'8", 150 pounds.

First, it was those big sodas, now, milkshakes and giant buckets of popcorn. They could be the next items to make their way on to New York City Michael Bloomberg's hit list.

The city's Board of Health is showing support for the mayor's proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, and board members are stepping up with some suggestions of their own.

There's a chance milkshakes, movie size popcorn and milk filled coffee drinks could also be part of this potential citywide ban.

If moms and dads got paid for contributions they make at home, who would be the big breadwinner? Do we need a drum roll for this one? Moms. Moms win, and it's not even close. came up with indexes that calculates how home roles correspond to wages. Dads got more of fix-it jobs, moms more of nurturing jobs. After all the numbers were crunched, dads made $20,248 for their domestic duties and moms work worth three times, $60,182.

BANFIELD: That means I get about 80 Gs. I not only did all the mom work but shoveled all the gravel in the driveway and have the blisters to do that.

ROMANS: You can hire a guy to shovel the driveway.

BANFIELD: Why didn't I think of that? I could have hired you.

ROMANS: The kids, make them do it. Well, they get taller and they can do it.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Christine Romans.

It's now 15 minutes past the top of the hour.

A North Carolina man has recycling in the bag, you could say, turning to trash, turning it to fashionable echo accessories.

Here's today's "Solutions."


BANFIELD (voice-over): Airplanes and bicycles may mean transportation to you. To matt Mahler, they mean duffle bags, purchases, laptop bags and wallets. Mahler is a diehard environmentalist and the founder of Tiara Ideas, a company that turns used bicycle inner tubes and aircraft seat covers into fashionable items.

Mahler gets the rubber inner tubes from bike shops in the Raleigh area and for fabric and leather, he has a deal with a major airline.

MATT MAHLER, FOUNDER, TIERRA IDEAS: They agreed to donate worn seat backs covers and curtains that were being retired from their aircrafts in exchange for us donating 10 percent of our profit to their chosen charity.

BANFIELD: Mahler started the company in his garage three years ago. He does the bulk of the design and marketing himself with help from his wife Louisa.

Mahler sews his own prototypes. The production work is handed off to contract workers in the area. The handmade goods are sold in small boutiques and specialist stores in several states and online.

For Mahler, Tierra Ideas is his way of preserving the environment.

MAHLER: The more we can recycle into something that's usable, I think it's better for the planet.


BANFIELD: Very cool. For more "Solutions", you can just head to our blog,

SAMBOLIN: Go ahead, make fun, it pays to be a geek. Christine Romans with the proof for you, that's coming up.

BANFIELD: As if we need proof.

SAMBOLIN: Pays a lot of money in some cases.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SAMBOLIN: It is 21 past the hour. Breaking news right now in the scandal over Lance Armstrong and doping allegations. We have just learned that Armstrong is now banned from the Nice Ironman competition. That is according to Ironman organizers. He was supposed to compete for the Ironman France on June 24th.

Armstrong is also telling his side of the story after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency formally charged him with doping.

On his Web site, he released a statement and says, quote, "These charges are baseless, motivated by spate and advanced through testimony, bought and paid for by promises of immunity. Although the USADA alleges a wide running conspiracy extended more than over 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. I have never doped and unlike my accusers I have competed for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one of them."

The World Triathlon Corporation said the rules are the rules. And they stated that -- this is according to the WTC professional athlete agreement and waiver. They dictate an athlete is ineligible to compete during an open investigation. And they go further to say that they determined that there is sufficient evidence of doping during his cycling career to bring forward charges of a non-analytical nature.

I'm sure we're going to hear much more about this.

BANFIELD: The anti-doping agency has determined it wants to do the investigation. The World Triathlon --

SAMBOLIN: They're following the rules.

BANFIELD: -- Corporation is not following in on evidence at all. They're just saying, look --

SAMBOLIN: Rules are rules.

BANFIELD: Got an open investigation, we're out. Not casting aspersions or suggesting there's evidence or not evidence, we can't do it. It's just the way it is. You know?

That's tough for him, though, because that's supposed to be what, June 24th, another week or so away.

SAMBOLIN: He thought all of this was behind him and completely exonerated and all this doping stuff was behind him, but now --

BANFIELD: Yes, federal investigation was dropped, two year investigation. So, that's got to be tough for him and certainly tough road to hoe ahead.

SAMBOLIN: You know, the tone of his statement, I suspect there's much more that we're going to hear about this.

All right. Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

Minding your business this morning: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon sounding pretty contrite in his testimony on Capitol Hill.

BANFIELD: Apologizing publicly for the firm's $2 billion loss.

And Christine Romans is here with more -- on some people calling it a bit of a love fest.

ROMANS: It was.

One person joking saying, Mr. Dimon, are you great or really great? That was from some of the senators.

Look, he kind of came out of this, emerged, as quite frankly, stronger than when he went in. He said, this was a mistake, it shouldn't have happened. Our bank is stronger now.

And he was contrite and didn't get angry or combative with the senators. And the senators really weren't combative with him. Listen.


JAMIE DIMON, JPMORGAN CHASE CEO: Under any name, whatever you call it, I will not defend it. It violates common sense in my opinion. I do believe the people doing it thought they were maintaining a short against high-yield credit that would benefit the company in crisis. We now know they were wrong.


ROMANS: And he said that many, many times. I will not defend it. I won't defend it. This went from what we thought was a legitimate hedge to something that didn't work, into something else that is indefensible and he said that over and over again.

A couple times he was asked what if a smaller bank with not so much capital and not so healthy had done something like this and took that bank down, could it have hurt the financial system? He kept going to saying, look, this hurt my profits, this was not something that was going to hurt taxpayers or put taxpayer money on the line or the like.

So, Jamie Dimon, it was not a drilling on Capitol Hill, it was a friendly discussion.

BANFIELD: Are we done with it? Done with this story or a lot more?

ROMANS: No. There are protesters there and thinks these banks are too big. They are people who thinks that these banks are too big. They're saying people who point out to how big this bank is, and if Jamie Dimon, he said, they have hundreds of regulators in their bank offices, pay a billion dollars more a year in compliance costs after the financial crisis because of new regulations and still something like this could happen. You're going to hear people talking.

But I want to talk about "revenge of the nerds." This is another story. Brand new data from says nerdy careers have become the country's coolest professions. You know, it used to be that your mom wanted you to grow up and be, what, like a banker, a doctor, a lawyer -- well, not anymore.

The Web site says software engineer is the number one job to have in the field of engineering and information technology, because of high salaries, excellent working conditions. Other computer science jobs took second and third place as well. You also have petroleum engineer. That's in the industry. Civil engineer, you can work anywhere in the civil engineer, $77,000.

Not just the pay. I'm not telling you to be a nerd because of the pay. CareerCast says people enjoy these jobs, satisfied in these jobs and have fun in these jobs. So, those old days are over growing up to be a banker or local doctor.

SAMBOLIN: You also don't have to dress up for those jobs.

ROMANS: That's the one thing you need to know about your money today brings me to this. There's money in your math homework. So what if they call you a nerd, you get the last laugh.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Christine Romans.

SAMBOLIN: Good point.

BANFIELD: Twenty-six minutes now past 6:00.

And to get to the truth of what's going on in Syria, an international organization said that's it, we're going to sneak in and find out for ourselves. Guess what? They did and now they have their report. You'll get it, next.


BANFIELD: A war of words between the United States and Russia. At issue, who is arming whom in Syria?

SAMBOLIN: The FBI teams up with heavy metal heroes of Metallica to try to solve a murder case.

BANFIELD: Another milestone in New York's Ground Zero today. President Obama plans to be there for it.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Nice to have you with us this morning. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 30 minutes past the hour here. So, let's get started.

As people endure yet another night of violence in war ravaged Syria, we're getting another look at the Amnesty International report on all of bloodshed. The organization actually had to sneak into the country to try to uncover the truth.

Ivan Watson if following developments in Syria from Istanbul, Turkey, this morning.

So, let's start with that report from Amnesty International. What did they confirm?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. They visited more than 20 towns and interviewed more than 200 people. And basically, they are filling out this horrific picture of the atrocities and crimes against humanity the Syrian government is accused of, that hundreds of people, they con chewed, were killed at short range, mostly men and boys.

They got the names of more than 10,000 people who were killed over the course of this 15 month crisis. And they saw, just in the two provinces they visited, at least 1,500 houses and shops and homes that appeared to have been torched by Syrian security forces.

Amnesty is calling for an immediate arms embargo against Syrian government forces, calling for an assets freeze against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his associates and calling for a referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes.

One very important point here -- unlike the 1990s and wars we saw in Balkans around Sarajevo and the siege of Sarajevo, here, human rights groups and even the opposition Syria itself, they're compiling names of alleged war criminals here, individual commanders of Syrian battalions and so on. They're going to have that information which we didn't have in the '90s and it will make it much easier to prosecute suspects than it was in previous conflicts like the Balkans.

Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: Ivan, there's some controversy surrounding Secretary Clinton's comments about Russia actually sending helicopters into Syria and also allegations from Russia that the United States is helping the opposition. What can you tell us about that?

WATSON: That's right. The U.S. secretary of state denying claims the U.S. was arming the Syrian rebels. Take a listen what Hillary Clinton had to say.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I would emphasize that the United States has provided no military support to the Syrian opposition, none. All of our support has been medical and humanitarian, to help relieve the suffering of the Syrian people, a total of $52 million, so far.


WATSON: Now, Hillary Clinton accused the Russians of sending attack helicopters to the Syrian army. Syria, most of its weapons come from Russia. And there have been calls to impose sanctions on Russia's arms exporter.

Moscow has responded saying we were just fulfilling previous orders for military helicopters. We're not rushing in new helicopters. The disturbing development we're seeing on the ground is that the Syrian government is increasingly using helicopters against the rebels, against the civilian population as it sees more and more of its tanks destroyed. It does appear, according to one Western diplomat I've talked to, that the Turks along with Saudis and Qataris are rushing anti-tank weapons to the Syrian rebels.

Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: Ivan Watson, live from Istanbul, Turkey, for us -- thank you very much.

BANFIELD: It's now 34 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast.

A Texas man convicted in a murder in a stand your ground case. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury find the defendant guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order in court. No outbursts, please.


BANFIELD: Raul Rodriquez is now facing life in prison for shooting that happened two years ago, that he recorded on video. His unarmed neighbor was shot in a confrontation over a noisy house party. Rodriquez had claimed self-defense citing, Texas' version of a stand your ground law. But the jury was having no part of it. This, of course, allowing the family some closure on this crime.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still lost a piece of us, a piece that will not come back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love my husband and miss him so much. I know he's up there and helped all of us get through this today.


BANFIELD: Raul Rodriquez will be sentenced later today. No word yet if there will be an appeal.

SAMBOLIN: The prosecution nearing the end of its case in any Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial. Half of Sandusky's accusers have now testified. Three more are expected to take the stand today.

Jurors yesterday heard more graphic accounts from witnesses, including one who says Sandusky warned him he'd never see his family again if he told anyone about the alleged abuse that he suffered.

Thirty-six minutes now past 6:00.

And are you ready for your morning met for? The economy is like a steak dinner. That's how the president is putting it. We're going to get to the meat of this latest comment in our political comedy segment, coming up.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SAMBOLIN: It is 39 minutes past the hour.

Breaking news right now in the scandal over Lance Armstrong and doping allegations. We have just learned Armstrong is now banned from the Nice Ironman competition. That is according to the Ironman organizers. He was supposed to compete for the Ironman France 2012 on June 24th.

Armstrong is also telling his side of the story after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency formally charged him with doping.

It's on his Web site, Armstrong says, quote, "These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony, bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. I have never doped and unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed once."

So the World Triathlon Corporation says that they're doing this because they have to follow the rules. I want to read you a little more about the statement they put out so that you can understand the full spectrum here.

"The WTC has been notified that USADA has initiated its anti- doping review process against Lance Armstrong to determine if there is sufficient evidence of doping during his cycling career. Our rules as stated in the WTC professional athlete agreement and waiver dictate an athlete is ineligible to compete during an open investigation."

That's why they have taken the stand. We are going to continue to follow the developments here. But as a result, lance Armstrong is not going to compete for the Ironman France Nice 2012 on June 24th.

Ashleigh, back to you.

BANFIELD: Forty-one minutes now past 6:00. And President Obama and Mitt Romney are going head to head today in Ohio. A swing state, you say? Yes.

The president is delivering a speech on the economy at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time in Cleveland. And just five minutes later and 250 miles south in Cincinnati, Mr. Romney is going to be taking to the stage as well.

Of course, Ohio is key to winning the general election. Oftentimes, it's called Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. And, by the way, the economy in Ohio has been improving. Unemployment in the Buckeye State is about 7.4 percent, below the national average of 8.2 percent.

The president has made good on some campaign promises in the 2008 speeches, too, to the Ohioans. Despite this, the president does continue to blame the lagging economy on who else? George W. Bush.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, martini, all that stuff, and then just as you're sitting down, they leave --


OBAMA: -- and accuse you of running up the tab.


BANFIELD: They accuse you of running up the tab. Perfect fodder for Dean Obeidallah, who's a political comedian and frequent contributor here to

All right. So, that's the kind of sound bite we immediately call you and say, wow, your week has been set for a comedy routine, right?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: This is great. These guys are providing us with the jokes already, martini, steak, they're in Ohio. These guys are going to be getting their mail forwarded to Ohio.

You're going to be spending so much time there, people are going to know first name basis with them. It's a key state. Everyone talks about Ohio. Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, as you said.

BANFIELD: There's a stats showing independents in Ohio are not too pleased with the performance of either of these candidates in terms of their economic line.

Let me throw the board up so you have something to work with, not that you need anything to work with Dean Obeidallah. There's the numbers.

You know, President Obama is getting 54 percent unfavorable rating from independents in Ohio with regard to the economy. You know, I think this isn't Ohio. This is the overall numbers, I apologize. This is the overall numbers. We've had Ohio earlier. But we've decided to go with the overall numbers.

Mitt Romney, 57 percent unfavorable economic plan overall for voters.

OBEIDALLAH: These guys should run together. They're exactly the same. People look at them -- they're neck and neck, national polls, state by state polls and economic plan. Although I think most Americans on Obama they don't like the plan because the one in place, I don't like what's going on. Romney, I'm not sure how much they're following the details of it, like austerity plan similar to Europe, a little different, but the same idea. It's a struggle for these guys.

I mean, from now to November, every day, we're going to see them follow each other around like on a reality show, couple cities away, two trading cities type situation. Interesting for us that follow politics.

BANFIELD: You probably enjoy gaffe fest, too, a couple of crazy gaffes last week. But the president saying we're all OK, the private sector doing fine, and Mitt Romney following up, we don't need teachers and cops and firefighters.

OBEIDALLAH: These guys, they should do a one -- they up each other in gaffes like I've never seen. Like this week, I'm not sure whose turn it's going to be.

But, you know, as a comedian, you look for those moments because I think they're insight what the candidates are really thinking and saying a lot of times. Sometimes, it's really a mistake. Sometimes, it's really their views on an issue.

BANFIELD: They say satire is often the most effective form of journalism, too. So, you must feel pretty strong right now, five months away until the election.

OBEIDALLAH: We dream of the glory days of George Bush. We will never get back to the golden days of comedy that George Bush gave us as a president.

BANFIELD: Wait a minute. Wait, wait. What about Bill Clinton?

OBEIDALLAH: Bill Clinton was funny, but Bill Clinton was very specific to the sex scandal. So, everyone that jokes about it. That was easy for all of us. Bush was more not about politics. It's more like, you know, since al Qaeda, he will say el (ph) Qaeda. It turned into a Mexican restaurant.


OBEIDALLAH: You know? So, those are little things we remember about George Bush, and he kept giving and giving and giving.

BANFIELD: All I've been wanting to ask you for the -- I got like 15 seconds left. You're going to get your 16-ounce soda before you can't?

OBEIDALLAH: I'm going to try. I mean, I'm proposing that we do things at fast food restaurants like amusement parks. Remember (INAUDIBLE) they don't want to write?


OBEIDALLAH: -- to order certain items not to be rude, look, buddy, you just qualify for a salad and glass of air, thanks for coming. We're just trying to help you, like don't be rude to people.

BANFIELD: Dean Obeidallah, me thinks you and I are going to have a very funny segment next week on the kinds of words that the candidates are using these days. Yes. It's a little teaser. That's all I can give you. Dean Obeidallah, nice to see you.

OBEIDALLAH: Nice seeing you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much. Soledad O'Brien is here. Whoops. She's destroying the set.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And she's going to tell us --


O'BRIEN: Don't worry about it. Yes. Let's start with that, shall we? This morning, I'll start -- we're going to talk to a young man who used to be part of Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile Foundation. He was part of the foundation as a kid, and then, he became a mentor for the foundation. And he also went on to attend Penn State as did many of his family members.

We're going to talk to him. He's been following the case very closely about were there any red flags that he saw? What does he think about the trial so far? What about the culture of Penn State that might have led to a cover-up? All that and much more with him this morning.

Also, one of the ugliest fights ever in Atlantic City was a battle between Donald Trump and Las Vegas legend, Steve Wynn, all over a casino. There's a new book out. It's called "The War at the Shore," and it details this fight between those two guys who really literally hated each other.

We'll talk to him about how it went down and who won at the end. And then, because I'm now, yesterday was not, today is Ice-T on CNN's rap correspondent, apparently.


O'BRIEN: Ice-T is going to join us to talk about his new movie. He's a director now, and he's made a movie called "The Art of Rap." We'll tell you, too, how he got the name Ice-T. It's actually very interesting. That, yes, and much. We'll see you at "Starting Point" right at the top of the hour.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you. O'BRIEN: And sorry for dropping stuff --

SAMBOLIN: Oh, that's OK.

O'BRIEN: -- noisily.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. No big deal.

So, guns and guitars teaming up to help catch a killer. Coming up, how Metallica is assisting the FBI in a murder case.


BANFIELD: It is now 50 minutes past the top of the hour. Let's get you caught up to date with the top stories of the day with Christine Romans. Hi, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning again, ladies. Thank you.


ROMANS: We're heading into the fourth day of testimony at the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky. Jurors are expecting to hear more graphic details from three of his accusers. Half of Sandusky's alleged victims have already testified. The prosecution could rest its case tomorrow.

Heavy metal band, Metallica, is helping police and the FBI as they search for a killer.


JAMES HETFIELD, SINGER: Back in 2010, our band offered $50,000 to help catch the person responsible for murdering, Morgan Herrington (ph).

ROMANS: Singer, James Hetfield, has recorded a public service announcement that features a sketch of suspects wanted in the death of that woman, Morgan Herrington (ph), the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student disappeared after an October 2009 Metallica concert in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her remains were found about three months later in a hay field 10 miles from the concert venue.

He hasn't taken a snap yet for the New York Jets, but Tim Tebow taking a verbal shot from former New England Patriot's linebacker and current ESPN analyst, Teddy Bruschi. Bruschi says Tebow should know his place as the Jets' backup QB and seriously lower his profile.


TEDDY BRUSCHI, ESPN FOOTBALL ANALYST: Knowing that this is Mark Sanchez' team. OK. He is the quarterback of the team. Tim Tebow is the backup quarterback, stop talking to the media so much. OK? You need to disappear, OK, Tim Tebow? You're not the starting quarterback. It's Mark Sanchez' team. I want my voice to come from my head coach and my quarterback. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Tebow taking part in the Jets' minicamp said this in response.


TIM TEBOW, NY JETS QUARTERBACK: To be honest, I just do what I'm told. I'm told on this day to talk to you, so I'm going to talk to you. And, you know, to be honest, I just go about it, however, the Jets set it up. The rules that they want us to do, who they want us to talk to, who they don't want us to talk to. And so, you know, I don't have to get -- I don't get paid enough to make all those decisions. I just do what I'm told and try to do it as best I can.


ROMANS: Tim Tebow just towing the company line. When asked why he's talking so much to the media, he responded to the media and the media --


ROMANS: -- responding to the media about why he responds to the media.


BANFIELD: Classy, though, right? I think that's a really classy, you know, respectful comment. It's something -- that Bruschi is pretty aggressive.

ROMANS: Yes. But he's right. Mark Sanchez is the QB.

SAMBOLIN: That is correct.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-three minutes past the hour.

President Obama make his fourth visit to the World Trade Center construction site. That's happening later today. There's been a lot of progress since his last visit, but it's been a long, tough road for the thousands of people involved in the rebuilding.

Poppy Harlow joins us now live from Lower Manhattan. I got to tell you, I did a little sneak peek of you going all the way to the top. Not quite at 1,776 feet yet, right?

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Not yet. Of course, that is a very meaningful height on purpose, America's declaration of independence. The president will visit the site. He's been invited here, Zoraida, by the governors of New York and New Jersey. He will meet some of the 3,000 union construction workers down here.

He will also sign a beam to go atop the World Trade Center. So, this is a very meaningful day for all the workers. Of course, though, this is also a very political stop for the president. His latest jobs push, touting the need for more construction jobs. And these are union men and women down here. So, this is very political as well. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, it's just two words sums it up, pride and honor.

MIKE PINELLI, GEN. SUPERINTENDENT, TISHMAN CONSTRUCTION: This is how we fit in, you know, where the final process of the rebuilding, you know, signifies our resiliency as a nation.

HARLOW: What do you say to those that have criticized how long this has taken?

PAT FOYE, EXEC. DIR., PORT AUTHORITY OF MY & NJ: Well, my response to that comment is they're right. The project has taken longer. It's cost more. I would expect that the entire site will be in the $15 billion range.


HARLOW: And as you can see, 104 stories, almost to the topping out. We'll get that in a few weeks. The president, for the first time, will go inside One World Trade Center, I'm told. He'll be taken up, not sure if he'll go to the top of one World Trade Center just ahead of two fundraisers here in New York this evening -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Poppy Harlow live from Lower Manhattan, thank you.

BANFIELD: Fifty-five minutes now past 6:00 on the east coast. And if you can't know it all, how about this? Try failure. Believe it or not, it's today's "Best Advice" from a comedian? Which comedian? I'll just give it to you. Penn Jillette coming up next.


BANFIELD: We like to wrap things as always with "Best Advice." Here's Christine Romans.

ROMANS: All right. We ask the magician and author, Penn Jilette, what the best advice he's ever received is. Check it out.


PENN JILETTE, MAGICIAN AND AUTHOR: My best advice was from Phil Proctor (ph) of Firesign Theater when I said I wanted to get in comedy. He said his advice was to know everything. Phil Proctor speaks four or five languages. He studies everything all the time. And he said, if you want to be funny, try to know everything. So, I try to know everything and fail miserably.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Failure! Hey, it's a common theme in all the best advice, be ready to fail. When you fail, learn from it and move forward.

BANFIELD: I know everything and then fail.

ROMANS: I love seeing Margaret Hoover in the background.


ROMANS: Listening in, smiling --

SAMBOLIN: Listening to the advice, right?

BANFIELD: I was looking for his super focus glasses. He wasn't wearing his super focus. Hey, that's it for us. That's the news from "A" to "Z." Nice to have you with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts right now.